Monday, October 04, 2010


Spray Paint
—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

After Sturmmnacht (Stormy Night), 2000—Neo Rauch

A man continually walks out of the frame of the picture, 
wearing a squashed hat and hunched into a green raincoat. 
His slower double follows, pushing a broom.

On a nearby bench a tiny rich man sleeps on a gold
pillow, dreams of his mama, and listens to the bluebird 
singing in his dream.

So far, numbers and railings do not lie; they are part of 
the collage: life and its variations. A huge glass window
shudders in its reflections, glinting with sinister reality.

The man and his golden-outlined double continually 
walk out of the picture as if light is about to change the 
intensity of night’s perception.

Part of a billboard peels: an error in time. A cart with 
empty shelves rolls slowly toward the shuddering 

The man in the green raincoat cannot seem to reach the 
end of the picture; the man in the golden outline tries to 
keep up but keeps growing smaller.

The tiny man on the bench looks up from his golden 
pillow and wonders where he is. He feels so rich, but he 
is cold. His mama cries out for him in the shrinking 


Thanks to today's poet and artist: good friends of mine who do stunning work, like many of you out there. Keep 'em coming!

I've installed a counter on Medusa, over on the b-board under the Archives (Medusa's Rap Sheet). It seems to say that folks are indeed peeking into the Kitchen now and then. At least I hope that's what it says. Maybe it's just random numbers...
Hot/cool week in area poetry; check the b-board for details. Sac. Poetry Center has two events, and Davis is especially hoppin’, with Poetry at the Arboretum, Dorine Jennette at Bistro 33, and on the weekend The Jazz/Beat Festival and the Celebration of Life Gala Arts Festival at Gallery 1855 at the Davis Cemetery. Back in Sac, it’s Round II of the Super Love Jones Love Poem Competition, and then Sunday you’re off to the Voices of Lincoln Contest Winners at the Twelve Bridges Library in Lincoln, including some youngsters. Like I said, a hot/cool week for area poets.

While you’re in Davis for all the doin’s, check out Cool Patch Pumpkins over by the Milk Farm, with plenty of activities for young and old—including their amazing 45-acre maze, which should provide you with lots of poetic food for thought (most of my life is a maze...). Go to for more info, or go to for more patches closer to you. Not all of them have mazes, though...

—Joyce Odam

Might as well sit in a bar
with my guitar,

the Taj Majal behind me
on a wall—

I’ve never been—

thinking of all those tourists
who sit on benches

facing cameras,
the Taj Majal behind them

for the view
of them when they were there.

(CD Cover, The Perfect World)


—Joyce Odam

She claims this square of sidewalk in
the L. A. Park where she
squats with her arms across her knees,
her knees bent to her chin.
Dressed in trousers, men’s sweaters pulled
in filthy layers upon her,
she talks to the madwoman of her mind.
Men nap in the grass
and stare from benches.
Summer is long and heavy, but it does not
warm her. She is the winter soul, unsaved
and wandering the vacant city inside her.

She is that woman who was born a perfect
child. Her life was long before her.
Now she is full of vague anger and
dull complaint. She talks to her shoes.

The sack at her feet is wrinkled upon the
holy body of cheap wine.
Her fist is strong around it.
Her mouth drools a memory of words.
She rocks to an old rhythm pedestrians
cannot feel. She stares at the level of
their knees where the red blur
hangs like a cloud she cannot penetrate.
Their forms float through it.
Locked in position, she
crouches before unwilling death
which shudders around her.


—Joyce Odam

(for Carol & Laverne & Lisl & Danyen)

Some quiet out of the chaos settles down
and we look up through a particular old tree
and admire the feeling of that view—the way
it opens its center and spreads out its strong
dark branches—the way the leaves catch

the sunlit air with their reflective motions;
and we find a bench and a table and sit there,
talking about the poetry of the day; and we shiver
a bit under the hour that is changing back to winter,
and it feels good to linger just a while longer.

We have been placed from one setting to
another of ourselves.  Nearby, two girls
go up to two wagging dogs leashed to the tree
and sit there beside them on the damp lawn,
and gradually the day thins out its people;

and we, too, must leave—seek out our cars
and go back over the slow unwinding miles
while the day closes down behind us
and we take a souvenir  of calmness with us.
Such a day is this one.


Today's LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

Old men, sitting on
Park benches  . . . I wonder what
They are thinking of  . . .
With their strong faces, and eyes
That stare into yesterday.